Talk on Canon at Clearview Church

In addition to the podcast, while I was at Clearview Church, I spoke for their “Digging Deep” series on the topic of “Why Does our (Protestant) Bible have the Books it Does?” Here, I begin with the table of contents of our modern Protestant and Roman Catholic Bibles and briefly trace the histories of these canons through the 16th century to the patristic period and to the earlier period of the late second temple period, talking in less certain categories about a canon in this earliest phase and more about sanctity and popularity of individual books.

The whole talk is about an hour and fifteen minutes and it includes the slides I used for the presentation. If you are interested in how Protestants and Roman Catholics came to have their respective bibles, then have a look.


5 thoughts on “Talk on Canon at Clearview Church

    1. Hi Tim, thanks for this question about a point in the talk that couldn’t receive as much attention as I would have liked to have given it. I’m away from my desk but off the top of my head Albert Sundberg, Geoffrey Mark Hahneman (see his full monograph on the subject), and most recently in NovT 2018, Claire Rothschild have all argued for a fourth century date for the MF. I can only direct you to the discussion of the issues and the literature in The Biblical Canon Lists book for now. I still think there are really good reasons for the late 2nd century date or the early 3rd century date, but my point in the talk was that we need to be careful about how we appeal to MF because there are other interpretations of this evidence besides the one we typically read about.

      Does this make sense? Thanks again for the question.

      1. JM,
        Thanks for the pointers to the others who have dated the fragment late. I did understand your point and fully concur; we should be aware of and truthful when presenting evidence.
        On a second issue that we have interacted before; you have used scripture to describe works like the Shepherd, but in this talk you also used inspired. Do you mean to convey that these works were inspired by the Spirit, yet in spite of inspiration were not canonical or that some groups considered them inspired, but were not since they did not end up as part of the canon? Maybe something different?
        I have found your posts and the last 2 videos both enlightening and though-provoking.
        I appreciate you!

      2. Tim, thank you for your kind remarks and this great question. Inspiration as a criterion for canon is a big issue over which is some disagreement. Back in February on the ETC blog I posted this:

        Let me know what you think. But generally here inspiration seemed only to be a necessary condition for canon, not a sufficient one for early Christian views on the matter. Blessings, John

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